Writing Catchy Dating Headlines

by Jason Tudor 

When it comes to putting together an online dating profile, many people make the easy mistake of not paying enough attention to their headline. It’s just a little blurb, right? Wrong. Other than your photo, the headline might be the most important piece of your profile.

Think of going to a movie. You’re there at the theatre, looking over the various titles. Right, so nobody just wanders up to the theatre and picks a movie anymore, but let’s just go with it this time, OK? Anyhow, so you’re there reading the movie titles, and some are terrible, such as Win a Date With Tad Hamilton. Ack! Besides just seeming really awkward, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense (and it’s a bad movie, just speaking out of context).

Then, you come across a title like Napoleon Dynamite. You’re instantly intrigued – that sounds like some guy’s name, but what kind of guy? It’s kind of cool, and at the same time, only a dork would run around calling himself that. Before you know it, you’re hooked, and want to find out just what the heck this movie’s all about. Gosh!

The headline on your personal profile works the same way. It’s the hook that leads prospective dates to your profile, so it better catch their attention P.D.Q.. Studies have shown that the average person spends only three seconds looking at each of the little preview sections for a given profile. Like we said, the photo is a big part of this process, but your headline is also a powerful tool. You need to not only get that reader’s attention, you need to somehow draw them into reading your profile.

Things can you do to write a catchy, inviting dating headline?

Lead them into your profile with a hook

This is the most important factor in headline-writing. You’re trying to get them to want to read your personal ad further, so it helps to either ask a question that the reader might think will be answered in the profile, or try and establish a sense of mystery. Although you’re talking about yourself, you want to involve the other person as early as possible.

  • i.e. “I can promise you something very special…”
  • or “I know something you don’t know”

Avoid Negativity

Two major mistakes in dating headline writing involve making yourself seem too negative.

  • i.e. DON'T SAYno short guys”, say “volleyball star looking for suitable dance partner
  • and NEVER SAYjust trying this out”. Gee, make the other person feel like a loser for online dating, why don’t you?

Use wordplay

It shows you have a creative spark. Use all those neat tricks they taught you the words for in grade six: alliteration (“classy chick seeks cool ”), internal rhyme (“beautiful boy, but not just a toy”), or simply a pun (“ex-bar star seeks fellow red dwarf”) -avoid overly-weird cultural references, unless of course you’re looking for the other tattooed Agatha Christie fan from Boise, Idaho. However, a tempered nod to a favourite film director or author can just scream "common interests"!

Writing that perfect headline is a little harder than it sounds, because, as many professional writers will tell you, being effective in a small number of words can be truly difficult. But if you pull it off, you’ll get far more hits on your profile than the average Joe. Just think: what kind of headlines attractyou? The same old "hey baby" or "let’s get together sometime" stuff? Didn’t think so.

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